In honor of #BlackoutTuesday, we muted all social media channels to learn, listen, and allow space for black voices to be heard. Now, we want to amplify those voices as loudly as possible for the world to hear. Some could argue that cannabis culture started in the black community long before it became a mainstream topic, which is why it’s more important than ever to highlight some of the black entrepreneurs who’ve helped build the cannabis community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without these impeccable minds.
C.J. Wallace’s Cannabis Company
With a mission to destigmatize cannabis, C.J. Wallace, the 23-year-old son of the late East Coast rap legend Notorious B.I.G., launched the cannabis company Think BIG in March 2019. Along with his business partners, Wallace claims cannabis does more good than harm—and we agree! He wants to push cannabis for creativity enhancement, medical healing, and criminal justice reform.
‘We have to figure out ways to fight for justice; to figure out ways to advocate for reinvestment in communities,” said Willie Mack, Wallace’s business partner. “We believe that this industry cannot move forward in a way that’s going to be equitable…unless we address these cultural issues.”
Felicia Palmer’s Cannabis Summit
As the cannabis industry grows, black people are being blocked from access as a result of being targeted and stigmatized by the war on drugs. In May 2019, Felicia Palmer hoped to change that with her cannabis summit that was designed to destigmatize the plant. Her first-hand experience with cannabis to combat cancer led her down a path of activism and education.
“I learned how popular cannabis was in the “alternative’ cancer community — people were using high-dose THC tinctures and concoctions and reporting tumor shrinkage and relief of chronic pain, sleeplessness, and appetite loss.”
Fab 5 Freddy’s Documentary
Because we’re all chained to our couches in quarantine, what better time to watch Fab 5 Freddy’s Netflix documentary, Grass Is Greener? It tackles the controversy and black criminalization surrounding cannabis as well as its massive role in black pop culture and music. The film features interviews with stars like Jay-Z, Cypress Hill, DMC, and Killer Mike.
“Cannabis was integral in that development. The prominent architects of jazz were cannabis users, particularly down in New Orleans. My film looks at this history.” The documentary premiered on April 20, 2019. If it’s not on Netflix anymore, try another platform!
Hope Wiseman’s Cannabis Dispensary
Okay, this next one is for the Guinness Book of World Records! To this date, Hope Wiseman remains the youngest African American cannabis dispensary owner at the age of 25. You can find her shop in Prince George’s County, Maryland. You may also recognize her name from the reality show, WAGS Atlanta.
“This will be bigger than the dot-com boom,” she said at the 2018 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. “African Americans should be focusing on positioning themselves to be valuable in the industry—figure out what your niche is in the industry.”
Mary Pryor’s Inclusive Photography
Have you ever noticed that the majority of stock photos on iStock, Pexels, Shutterstock, etc. primarily use white people? Type in “couple on the beach” or “friends at the bar” or “family in the kitchen” and you’ll get white results. To change that, Mary Pryor’s group of friends launched an education firm and stock photography company that uses black people as their models.
The company, Cannaclusive, “was created to facilitate fair representation of minority cannabis consumers.” The founders say they “were inspired by the growing opportunities yet disappointed by the diversity issues taking root in mainstream cannabis culture.”
Big Names In The Game
For this article, specifically, we wanted to focus on lesser-known names for educational purposes. Maybe you feel inclined to visit Wiseman’s dispensary or shop from Wallace’s company? Undoubtedly, there are world-famous black entrepreneurs in the cannabis space that you likely already know of.
- Snoop Dogg
- Mike Tyson
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Ghostface Killah
- Wiz Khalifa
- The Game
- Montel Williams
- Damian Marley
Who Are Your Favorite Black Business Owners?
It doesn’t even have to be in the cannabis space. We want you to celebrate black entrepreneurs today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. In a time that demands change, we refuse to stay silent. We will use this time to educate, speak up, donate, and VOTE. Are you registered to vote? If not, get a move on!